Noche Buena Ideas with Alaska Crema from the Merry Cremas Festival 2015

When December comes and we all start feeling the cool breeze, I can’t help but get all giddy with excitement for Christmas. Ken and I always look forward to Noche Buena because that’s when our nanay prepares extra special dishes for the whole family to enjoy. In the past few years, nanay and Ken have made it a habit to prepare something new every Noche Buena. This is why we always look forward to the annual Alaska Merry Cremas Festival where we get to see what new dishes we can add to our Christmas feast.

Merry Cremas Festival 2015 by Alaska Crema at Trinoma Activity Center

This year’s Merry Cremas Festival was held at the Trinoma Activity Center. As expected, there was quite a delicious lineup of sweet and savory dishes made using Alaska Crema All-Purpose Cream. We weren’t able to taste everything, but it’s fun to see how creative you can be and how one ingredient – Alaska Crema – can be incorporated in a variety of dishes to give them that extra creamy goodness. Let’s start off with our top favorites from the 2015 Alaska Merry Cremas Festival.


KISS’ Mille Crepe Cakes

During our first round of food sampling, KISS wasn’t open yet. Good thing we came back because we would’ve missed their creamy tower of mille crepe cakes. From the endless stream of people crowding their booth, I can say that their cakes were on the top of the best-sellers at the Merry Cremas Festival. We bought a slice of their Salted Caramel Cake. They used Alaska Crema in their buttercream, so it was oh-so velvety! Since I don’t have an oven now in my condo, this is one dessert I can’t wait to recreate! 🙂

KISS' Mille Crepe Cakes filled with buttercream made with Alaska Crema

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The Maya Kitchen Baking Class with The Burp Society

After our dinner at Van Gogh is Bipolar, we thought it’ll be fun to organize a different kind of activity for the next The Burp Society meet-up. Thankfully, The Maya Kitchen gladly helped us organize a baking class for our group, which turned out to be a completely fun and learning experience for all of us.

The Burp Society and Ms Rory at The Maya Kitchen

Ken’s an excellent pastry chef, which has inspired me to want to learn how to bake. So, I thought it’ll be a great idea to hold a baking class exclusively for The Burp Society. And, almost immediately, I thought about The Maya Kitchen Culinary Arts Center.

Maya Kitchen display of products

I’m sure you’re all familiar with Maya, the brand well-known and trusted for decades by us Filipinos because of the quality of their products. You’ve probably prepared pancakes, brownies, cakes, cookies or even champorado at home with ease because of Maya’s mixes. But, did you know they have been helping out entrepreneurs and home bakers and cooks for years now through the classes they hold at The Maya Kitchen? You can learn more about this through their website:

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Where to Buy Cronuts in Manila

If there’s one thing we love about the widespread use of social media in the country today, it’s got to be how the hottest, latest and yummiest trends from all over the world quickly become all the craze here in the Philippines. The most recent fad has to do with the sweet, flaky goodness of Cronutsâ„¢. And if you’re yearning to know where to buy cronuts here in the Philippines, read on.

Cronuts by Chef Dominique Ansel

Photo from Dominique Ansel Bakery

If you haven’t heard of these delightful pastries yet (have you been living under a rock? :D), Cronuts are made with a special laminated dough closely similar to croissant dough, and fried like donuts (originally in grapeseed oil), filled in with cream, then rolled in sugar and glazed or topped with frosting. The original cronut is a creation of Chef Dominique Ansel who owns a bakery in New York and if you check their website, his cronut recipe requires a more complex method, which is why it took him 2 months and 10 tries to finally perfect the recipe that will enable him to fry the laminated / croissant dough without it breaking apart.

Chef Dominique Ansel - Cronuts

Photo from Crains New York

Wildflour Cafe Cronuts Croissant DonutsSince he launched the cronuts in May this year, everyone seemed to be clamoring for a taste and this quickly spread all over the world (with people lining up for hours and some even paying as much as $100 for one cronut), and has finally reached the Philippines last month through Wildflour Cafe + Bakery. Thankfully, I haven’t seen anyone who’s too obsessed with these pastries yet here in Manila.

I first heard about the cronuts when I saw all the tweets about it on my work Twitter account (I have social media clients based in NYC). I asked Ken if he can make them at home. He said it’s not an easy task to make such an intricate pastry. But, he said he’ll try to make his own version at home. We’ll see. 😉

Anyway, between the two of us, Ken’s the only one who has tried Wildflour’s cronut. He loved it, but he’s not as enamored as everyone seems to be. Still, he said, there’s no doubt it’s a beautiful creation, which is why I cannot wait to have a taste. We’re now on a quest to find out which cronuts are the best, so I listed down all the restaurants and pastry shops here in the Philippines that are serving these croissant-doughnut hybrids. If you know of other places we haven’t added yet, let us know. 🙂


Where to Buy Cronuts in Metro Manila

Note: The photos in this post are not ours. See the photo credit links at the bottom of each photo. Those without labels were taken from the resto/store’s Facebook pages.

UPDATE: So far, we’ve tried the cronut versions of Dolcelatte and Le Coeur de France. We’ll post our reviews of them soon.

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Chocolate Lover : A Baking and Confectionery Store

There are many things I’m currently enjoying about Ken being in culinary school. First, of course, is everything he bakes or cooks at home so he can practice or prepare for an upcoming test or lab activity in school. I especially loved these cream puffs and éclairs he made for our birthday celebration weeks ago. Everyone loved them! 🙂

Eclairs and Cream Puffs Ken baked for our birthday party

Secondly is shopping with him for ingredients and tools he’ll need at home. One of our favorite stores now is Chocolate Lover in P. Tuazon in Cubao, Quezon City.

Chocolate Lover - a store for your baking, confectionery and packaging needs

If you’ve passed through their area in QC, we bet you saw the eye-catching design of their building. I mean, seriously. How can you miss this castle?

The Chocolate Lover castle store in Cubao, Quezon City

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Tupperware Speedy Chopper : Making Home-Cooked Meals Less of a Hassle

I love cooking. Ever since I was 10 years old, I’ve loved staying in the kitchen, whether it’s to enjoy a meal or prepare something for myself or my family and friends. But, because of my very hectic schedules online and offline, I’ve left all the cooking to my bro Ken and our nanay. Thank goodness I found out about the all-new Tupperware Speedy Chopper.

Tupperware Speedy Chopper

Over a week ago, Ken and I were invited by Tupperware to take a Kitchen Discovery Class at Center for Culinary Arts Oceana at SM Mall of Asia. Of course, we gladly accepted mainly because Tupperware is a brand we believe in. We have Tupperware dinnerware and containers that have been with us for over 2 decades now. They make reliable and durable products that are made to last. 🙂

So, when we learned that they’re launching a new kitchen tool that should help prepping be less time-consuming, we knew we had to get our hands on it to try how it works.

Melody Yap, the brand manager of Tupperware Philippines, first showed us how it works. It’s so easy to use. Put in the ingredients you want to grind or chop finely in the container. Then, close it with the very sharp blades and start pulling on the cord to spin the three (3) blades inside. These blades, they claim, can equal 288 knife strokes in just 15 seconds. So we were all very excited to give it a try.

These very sharp blades can give you 288 knife strokes in 15 seconds

Tupperware enrolled us in the Kitchen Discovery Class in CCA and it started with 3 renowned female chefs (Yayyy! Girl power!) showing us how great the Speedy Chopper is in making your life easier in the kitchen.  They were all very delightful so we enjoyed watching them prepare these delicious dishes, Oh, and they used other Tupperware kitchen tools during the whole demo. 🙂

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Certified Foodies’ Pasko sa Agosto Giveaway – Win a Celebrations by Sharon Mixes from Maya Gift Pack!

Yes, we know, we still have an ongoing giveaway to celebrate Certified Foodies’ first anniversary (update: extended until the end of the month). But, we know you’re all up for another giveaway.

That’s why for this month, we, along with our fellow generous bloggers, are giving away awesome prizes in a much-anticipated giveaway caravan – Pasko sa Agosto.

Pasko sa Agosto

For our food blog, we are giving away this Celebrations by Sharon Maya mixes gift pack:

Win a Celebrations by Sharon Maya Mixes gift pack from Certified Foodies' Pasko sa Agosto giveaway

This goodie bag contains FOUR mixes – Banana Cake Mix, Party Cupcake Mix, Crinkle Cookie Mix, and Fudge Brownie Mix. You can easily bake these at home. The instructions are at the back so that should make it quick for you. You can even bake them on your oven toaster! 🙂

Celebrations by Sharon Maya Mixes

We haven’t used these mixes YET, but knowing that these are from Maya, the brand that brought us the popular and yummy hotcake mix Fluffy n’ Tasty, we’re pretty sure we’re going to love them, too. But, stay tuned for our feature of these mixes on here, aight?

So, how do you join exactly? Well, we made this VERY EASY for you. Just follow these instructions:

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Kens Culinary Journey in Photos

If you’ve been following our blog, you’d know that my bro Kenneth already started culinary school at Global Culinary and Hospitality Academy last July 12th. We promised to share his progress in his culinary journey towards becoming a full-fledged chef so here we go.

This blog will serve as his journal where you can follow him towards fulfilling his culinary dreams. For now, we’d like to share some photos of his baked creations. They’re currently in the baking and pastry phase and I’m amazed at his progress. He’s competitive in nature so I know he’ll always aim for excellence. Mana sa ate *ehem* (Stage sister :D).

Soft Rolls and Pull Aparts, Single, Double and Figure 8 knots - CertifiedFoodies.comSoft Rolls and Pull Aparts, Single, Double and Figure 8 knots

Cinnamon Raisin Bread - CertifiedFoodies.comCinnamon Raisin Bread

Everything they prepare, they take home so we got to try almost everything he learned to prepare in school. Yum! 😀

We have posted a photo album on our Facebook page where we’ll be posting what he’s learned to make in culinary school. You can follow this “photo blog” too.

Ken's Photo Blog on his Culinary Journey -

Stay tuned for posts from him about his culinary journey. We promise more recipes and tips here so keep posted, friends. Plus, we might have giveaways where the prizes would be his own creations or an intimate dinner with all the dishes prepared by us. 🙂


For the Love of Learning & FoodFoodie Blog Post by Mhel / blankPixels -

Start Your Culinary Dreams at Global Culinary and Hospitality Academy

I dream to be a full-fledged chef someday soon - CertifiedFoodies.comAfter I came back from my “short vacation” in Singapore, I was determined to pursue my passion in cooking. And with a little badgering help from my ever-supportive sister, Mhel, we were able to convince my Nanay to finance my culinary education.

I scoured the internet in search of the best culinary schools in the Philippines, but making sure to prioritize affordability and quality of education above all other criteria. I was able to narrow down my choices between two schools. There is one institute offering a concise culinary program that lasts for a short period of 7 months (4 months of lecture and 3 months of OJT), which grants students who successfully finish the course with only a Certificate in Professional Culinary Arts. While my other choice, Global Culinary & Hospitality Academy, for almost the same price, is proud to offer a program considered a major first in the culinary industry – the Grand Diploma in Professional Culinary, Baking and Pastry Arts.

To be honest, it wasn’t a tough decision to make at all. Global Academy surely had this one in the bag!

Global Culinary and Hospitality Academy -

My Nanay and I went to Global Academy’s Timog branch, which was most convenient for it’s nearest to our place. There we met their very accommodating marketing team, who gave us a short tour of their facilities, explained to us in detail the various programs they offer, and informed us of what my Nanay was dying to ask from the moment we got there – payment plans.

Global Culinary & Hospitality Academy boasts of their affordable TESDA-accredited programs for Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts, Certificate in Professional Baking & Pastry Arts, and their Grand Diploma Program that I mentioned earlier. And for those who prefer a more fast-paced and concise course, Global Academy also provides Fast-Track Programs for either Culinary Arts or the Grand Diploma Program.


Since it’s my goal to learn and experience as much as I can to master the art of cooking, I thought it’s only proper to enroll in the Grand Diploma Program. It’s a combination of the two courses, Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Art, which ensures graduates of the program a better edge in landing a job here and abroad, especially now that employers prefer having well-rounded people skilled at performing multiple functions in the kitchen. And the tuition fee for the Grand Diploma Program is definitely a good deal, since it would cost much, much more if the two courses were taken separately.

Open House at Global Academy's Pasig campus - CertifiedFoodies.comMoving forward, as part of the admission process, I was required to take a short exam, followed by a one-on-one interview with their marketing representative. Our conversation got really interesting when I mentioned that my sister and I share a food blog where we write about our food adventures and discoveries. The representative was quick to inform me that their Pasig Branch has moved to a new and bigger location and that they are planning to host a Blogger Event to showcase the branch’s new facilities. No date has been set yet for the event, so she promised to update us as soon as everything has been settled.

Sure enough, we received an invite for Global Academy’s Pasig Branch Open House Event, scheduled June 8, 2011. We opted to attend the second batch at 2:00PM because the first was set too early (for us anyway) at 9:00AM. The new Pasig Branch is located at the 4th Floor of Millennium Place,Meralco Ave. and Sapphire Rd., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. It’s a couple of buildings away from Robinson’s Galleria or just a short jeepney-ride if you’re coming from EDSA.

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Baking Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Cookie Jar Mix

Over a week ago, I mentioned about Rae of The Cookie Jar sending us 3 of their products to try – their French macarons, Triple Chocolate Cookies and this – their Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie mix.

Ready to be gifted jar of cookie ingredients mix from The Cookie Jar -

We postponed baking using the mix for a pick-me-up get-together with my best friend, Tina. I know baking will cheer her up. 🙂

As soon as she saw the jar with the ingredients stacked up as pictured below, she got excited and even reminded us we should start baking already. 😀

Layers of ingredients for The Cookie Jar's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe -

The Cookie Jar Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie mix includes semi-sweet choco chips, oats, flour, brown and white sugar. Like what is mentioned at the back of the gift tag that’s included with the package, you only need to add butter, eggs and vanilla.

Baking instructions at the back of the gift tag -

Let me share with you some photos taken during our baking session. If you haven’t tried baking yet, then, these photos might help. You see, it’s so easy, you won’t need any complicated kitchen tools like utility knives or heavy kitchen machines. 🙂

I had to stop myself from eating the chocolate chips when we finally opened the jar.

The Cookie Jar's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie mix, ready for baking! -

Then, we used 2 sticks of butter and softened them through our microwave. Yes, we were busy chattering away that we forgot that we were only supposed to use 1 1/2 stick of butter. So, using a little Math…

1 stick of butter = 100 g

1 1/2 stick of butter = 150 g

We mistakenly softened 2 sticks of butter so we had to weigh it -

Since Ken, as I’ve mentioned before, is into baking. So, we have this weighing scale available at home. How convenient. You should know that precise measurements are very important when baking. Otherwise, you’d get undesirable results. That’s why, if you’re really planning on starting baking at home, then, you should have this weighing scale available too… just in case. (I forgot how much this costs, will get back to you with the price)

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The Cookie Jar Pastries

My bro Ken and I are both pastry lovers. He particularly loves cakes and baking them. I love different kinds of pastries, most especially cookies and have been planning on learning how to bake myself. That’s why when Rae of The Cookie Jar sent us these goodies, we were both excited to try them.

Goodies from The Cookie Jar -

By the way, my bro and I love their packaging. The box, jar and tin can can be easily recycled. Kudos for that! They also used earthy tones of colors, which makes the packing more elegant. Perfect for gifts!

You might be wondering what makes The Cookie Jar different from other cookie or pastry shops. They are aiming to make baking cookies easy for newbie bakers with their jars of ingredients mix.

Ready to be gifted jar of cookie ingredients mix from The Cookie Jar -

We got this jar of ingredients for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. You can see the stack of flour, sugar, oats, and semi-sweet chocolate chips from this clear jar. No need to worry about measurements.

Layers of ingredients for The Cookie Jar's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe -

At the back of the gift tag that comes with each jar, you’d see baking instructions. All you need to add with the mix of ingredients are butter, vanilla and 2 eggs.

Baking instructions at the back of the gift tag -

We haven’t baked the cookies yet, but will write a separate post for that. We’re saving it for a pick-me-up get-together with a friend next week. 🙂

Now, if you don’t have an oven, you’re not that confident with you baking or you simply prefer already baked cookies, you can also buy these cans of cookies.

The Cookie Jar's can of Homemade Triple Chocolate Cookies - I love the tin can, too! -

We received a can of The Cookie Jar’s Homemade Triple Chocolate Cookies. Each can contains 10 cookies, by the way.

Homemade Triple Chocolate Cookies from The Cookie Jar - Yummy! -

As soon as I took a bite of the cookie, I was delighted with the chunky bits of white and semi-sweet chocolates. The cookies were also chewy, which I love, love, love.

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